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  • Writer's pictureSharanya Naidoo

I Need Courage

Updated: Aug 15, 2019

December 12th 2018

What do you do when you are clear on what you want but lack the courage to dive in and go for it? Where do you draw your courage from?

Today I’m going to answer the question that came up earlier this week and it was from a really lovely lady who’s got big goals and dreams for 2018. So for anyone out there who’s planning on achieving some goals that have been in the back pocket for a little while and you want to achieve it in 2018 this video might be really helpful for you.

What she said to me, she said I don’t have the courage to dive into my dreams. So she’s got the clarity about what her dreams are but she’s feeling as though she’s lacking the courage to just dive in. What she’s been doing lately or for the past year or two is just kind of tipping her toes in, just a little bit here and there and what she’s noticed is that she feels like she’s actually procrastinating even though she’s taking action.

We had this lovely discussion about courage and I wanted to share a couple of things that came up in that conversation. So often when we think about courage we want to get inspired by people that do really grandiose things like the Nelson Mandelas and the Mother Teresas. And it can get a little bit overwhelming because when we get inspired by them they’re almost a bit too far away from our own life to actually be able to help us put anything into practice. So even though they’re amazing beacons of light and lighthouses where we’re lost at sea and we’re trying to find direction, they’re amazing to help us get our values in order, when it comes to step by step practical action it can be a bit disconnected.

I encouraged her to think about someone in her own bloodline, in her own ancestry. It could’ve just been her dad or her mum or a grandfather or someone along the line that she’s heard of, that she knows about, that could inspire her enough to take that dive into her goals. And as we were sharing this story came up about my own father and I wanted to share it with you.

I migrated to Australia when I was five years old, my brother was three, and we came in 1988. And we came from Durban, South Africa. Now my dad only told me this many years later but the week that we arrived in Australia we had no guarantee of citizenship. Nevertheless he burned our passports. He either burned them or he tore them up, but the way I remember it is like he burned the passports. They were just obliterated. There were no passports. So we were basically like citizen-less little children and mum and dad for a couple of years because fast forward two years and we did actually get Australian citizenship.

But the week we landed he destroyed our passports and he told me why. He said I burned the bridge. I just… I had heard stories about families that had come to Australia, and what happens when you’re feeling lonely and it’s a new environment, new people, you’re feeling like you don’t belong, you miss what was at home, you miss all your friends and family, you miss how things are set up, the way you were raised is the way that feels natural and normal and then you go into a whole different environment and it feels completely like a duck out of water.

And so the natural instinct is to just pack your bags up and go back to comfort and back to the known. So he knew that that was going to be a risk and he just burned the passports. He burned the bridge and he said we’re going to make it work here. And that’s what happened. That’s what we did. We took on the Australian culture. We used to celebrate Diwali. We still celebrate Diwali which is a huge Hindu festival in South Africa that was the biggest festival at the end of the year. But then we changed. We decided to make our biggest festival Christmas. We still did Diwali with our family but they made sure that we brought in the traditions of Australia into our lives as well so we understood the culture that we were stepping into and to actually feel a part of it.

I reflect back on the story and I think oh my gosh, I didn’t have to look too far to find courage and it actually gives me goose bumps and it makes me kind of emotional thinking about it that my dad burnt the passports. And he’s got a handful of really courageous acts that punctuate his life and this one for me is probably number one, to migrate to a country that you’ve got really no idea what you’re getting yourself into but it’s just the promise of a better life. We left a country that had apartheid which means racism was basically the law and we came to a country that didn’t have that, and that was a good option for us and we made it work.

When you’re seeking inspiration to give you the courage to dive into your own dreams, don’t look further than your own backyard. Like talk to your parents, talk to your mum and dad or your grandparents or your siblings and ask them what’s something that you’ve done in your life that’s been pretty courageous? And you’ll be surprised. It could be something really small, it could be something huge like burning passports and migrating to another country, but I guarantee you will find inspiration in their stories and that will give you the courage to go okay, I can do that, I can make that leap, I can make that little step. And it doesn’t have to be Mandela-huge or Mother Teresa-huge. It can just be Naidoo-big and that gives you the courage to jump into your own dreams.

Think about who you can talk to. I really would love to hear all the stories that come up because it’s such a wonderful conversation. It makes the person who’s sharing the story feel really proud and it gives you the courage to dive into your own dreams and know that you can do it as well. If they can do it, that’s my own blood, I can do it as well.



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